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Newspaper Articles - Tim Curran


     Below are newspaper articles about the Curran case from 1983 through 1998. Most are from the Los Angeles Times.

BY: ANDERSON, DENNIS
DATELINE: LOS ANGELES (UPI)  October 06, 1983

 A former scoutmaster, expelled by the Boy Scouts of America because he admitted being a homosexual, plans to use a favorable court ruling to get his job back.
  The 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled Timothy Curran, 21, an Eagle Scout, could not be dismissed because of his homosexuality. The decision clears his suit for trial unless the Boy Scouts appeal to the California Supreme Court.
  "I knew we would win all along but this is very gratifying," Curran said Wednesday.
  "If it stands before the (state) Supreme Court, it will be the leading case on the subject in the country. I think the Boy Scouts will have a very hard time proving I'm immoral in a trial."
  Curran, a senior at the University of California at Berkeley, brought suit against the Boy Scouts in May 1981 when he was expelled because Scout officials learned he was gay.
  Curran said an official from the Mount Diablo council, which supervised Troop 37, told him a homosexual was not a good role model.
  "If we take it on their terms of merit, I can't get it (the position) if I'm gay, so it can't be on their terms of merit," he said. "I think I merit the job. I'm trying to regain my position of assistant scoutmaster."
  The 38-page decision handed down Monday said, "Using the standard of homosexuality as the basis of expulsion is substantively arbitrary and therefore violative of the common-law right of fair procedure."
  The ruling overturned a Superior Court decision that the Boy Scouts do not have to open membership to everyone.
  When Curran filed suit, David Potter, his scoutmaster, described him as "an excellent example of what a leader should be."
  Attorney George Slaff of the American Civil Liberties Union said the decision "means establishing the right of a homosexual person to be treated like anyone else in our society."
  "It means that some other group couldn't decide to keep out someone because they were a Jew, a Protestant, a black or some other group," he said.
  Malcolm Wheeler, attorney for the Boy Scouts, said officials from the Scout national office in Dallas would study the decision before deciding whether to appeal it.

Gay's Suit Over Expulsion From Boy Scouts Begins
Los Angeles Times (LT) - FRIDAY September 21, 1990
By: CAROL McGRAW

Timothy Curran was 17 when the Boy Scouts awarded him its highest honor--the Eagle Scout badge.
On that spring night in 1980, family and friends sat in a Berkeley church proudly listening as he was held up as an exemplary Scout, possessing the character and leadership qualities coveted by Scouts everywhere.
But months later, Curran was summoned to a meeting at the Boy Scouts' Mount Diablo Council office in Walnut Creek. Executive Director Quentin Alexander told him that he could not continue in scouting because officials had learned he had taken a male date to his senior prom. Curran said Alexander told him that "homosexuality and Boy Scouting are not compatible."
On Thursday, nearly a decade after Curran filed suit to rejoin the Scouts as an adult leader, his trial began in Los Angeles Superior Court. A defense attorney asked early on if Curran could recall the Boy Scout oath.
The 28-year-old free-lance journalist smiled broadly from the witness stand, lifted his hand in a three-fingered salute and recited: "On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty, to God and my country . . . to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight."
The case, which is the first of its kind involving the 4.3-million-member Boy Scouts of America, could have profound implications for every troop in the US. If successful, it would not only be seen as a significant victory for the gay rights movement but could change the way courts apply civil rights laws to private, nonprofit organizations.
Curran's suit, which was filed in Los Angeles after he moved here to attend college, seeks a permanent injunction preventing the Mount Diablo Council from excluding him from membership and being a troop leader.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Curran, has argued that by denying him membership the Boy Scouts are violating the "equal public accommodations" section of the state Civil Rights Act, which prohibits arbitrary discrimination.
The Scouts countered that they are a private organization and, under California's Constitution, can choose their own leaders.
The Scouts' national leadership has taken the position that "as an organization that stresses the values of the family, we believe that homosexuals do not provide the proper role model for our youth membership," said Lee Sneath, national spokesman for the Irving, Tex.-based group. "As a private organization, they have a constitutional right to determine the leadership and membership qualifications."
A key issue in the Curran trial will be whether the Boy Scouts is a business as defined by the state Civil Rights Act.
During opening arguments Thursday before Judge Sally G. Disco, Curran's attorneys portrayed the Boy Scouts of America as a "massive, national enterprise" with 2,000 retail shops located throughout the country and total revenues of $52.3 million.
Jon Davidson, senior staff counsel for the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, noted that in one year, the Mount Diablo Council alone had revenues of $750,000.
New York City attorney George Davidson, who is defending the Mount Diablo Council, dismissed the argument, saying: "A duck has feathers and lays eggs but it doesn't necessarily mean it's a chicken."
Curran sat behind the counsel table where his three lawyers and three attorneys for the defense were seated. A few feet away sat Quentin Alexander, the Scout official who was waiting to testify about why he had denied his former Eagle Scout further membership in the organization.
Both men have said that scouting molded their character, an issue in the trial.
Alexander, 55, joined the Scouts 43 years ago in Daisy, Tenn., and never left the organization. He worked his way up through the leadership ranks to his present position as head of the 13,000-member Mount Diablo Council, which encompasses Contra Costa County.
One of the most important benefits of scouting, he said, is to teach youth "the difference between right and wrong."
To this day, he can recall the community service project he undertook at 12. "There was an older widow lady who I helped every day after school," he said. "I would go to her house and do chores, chop wood, whatever needed to be done. The lady's name was Mrs. Crowe."
Curran was 14 when he joined Troop 37 in Berkeley after a friend dragged him to a meeting. His first recollection, he testified Thursday, was of a fellow Scout showing him an aquarium filled with "a snake and a reptile." He was fascinated and stayed on to become a patrol leader, a member of the Order of the Arrow, a journalist for the Scout newspaper published each year at the National Jamboree camp-out, and an Eagle Scout with more than 20 merit badges.
Less than 3% of all Boy Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Curran impressed his supervisors by completing the rigorous program even though he was a relative latecomer to scouting. He finished the required work three days before his 18th birthday, the age at which Scouts "retire" and become adult volunteers.
As part of his Eagle Scout work, he helped organized a troop of deaf children in Oakland.
His problems with Scout officials began when he applied for a second time to write for the Scout newspaper at the National Jamboree. He and his parents met with Alexander.
"He told us that homosexuality and scouting are not compatible," Curran recalled. Apparently, Scout executives had been shown an Oakland newspaper article about gay youths, which featured Curran, who had taken a male date to his senior prom.
Curran's mother, Beryl Lange of San Francisco, recalled: "I sat there at the Scout meeting and couldn't believe they were talking about Tim, that he would lead anyone astray. He was the epitome of what they hoped for in all their Scouts and there they were telling him he was not worthy.
"Taking a male date to the prom had been the most difficult thing he had ever done in his life," she added, "and I was very proud of him for having the courage."
The Curran case mirrors the social struggles of both gays and the Boy Scouts in recent years.
A decade ago, many believed the gay rights movement was nearing the crest of acceptance, but that was before the AIDS epidemic struck down thousands. While AIDS spurred anti-gay sentiment, it also galvanized the gay community's fight for equality and political action.
Robert Bray, a spokesman for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said that the Curran case addresses an item that has been high on homosexual activists' political agenda--"to strike down the stereotype that gays and lesbians cannot be role models for children."
"We are frequently denied the right to be coaches, counselors, mentors, parents," Bray said. "It perpetuates the irrational and loathsome myth that gays recruit and molest children.
"Here is an outstanding Scout who is being denied the opportunity to lead other Scouts because of who he loves and who he is."
The 80-year-old Boy Scouts of America also has had its share of public relations problems. Since its inception, the group has been viewed by supporters as a movement that builds strong moral character, but in recent years critics have likened the group to "paramilitary goodie-goodies."
Membership dropped to 3.1 million in 1979 from a high of 4.8 million seven years earlier.
"We were a victim of the '60s philosophy, no question about it," said Richard Harrington, director of the 11-state Western Region, which includes all the Scout councils in California. "But there has been a dramatic change. We like to think that people are coming back to values we never left."
Officials have instituted major program changes. The group, which once taught how to stop runaway horses, now has classes in atomic and computer science. It conducts community programs that seek to eradicate drugs, child abuse, illiteracy, hunger and youth unemployment.
The Boy Scout Handbook, reissued this year, includes a 23-page insert on the dangers of drugs and child abuse and tells how to conduct environmentally sensitive camping trips. A multimillion-dollar advertising campaign is under way which emphasizes river rafting, mountain rappelling and other high-adventure activities. The effort has paid off. Membership is climbing again, with 4.3 million Scouts and 1.1 million adult volunteers now on the rolls.
The ACLU has not been the only group to take the Boy Scouts to court. In 1987, a single mother alleged that she was discriminated against because the Scouts had a policy that only men could serve as leaders. She had won several pretrial skirmishes and the case was set for trial when the Boy Scouts announced they had changed its policy and women could hold leadership posts.
At the time, Scout officials said that the rule was dropped because the court battles had become too expensive.
The organization also is defending itself against a religious freedom suit filed in federal court in Chicago earlier this year. In that case, an agnostic Scout allegedly was denied membership when he refused to take the Scout oath to "do my duty to God."
In the Curran case, Judge Disco will first have to rule on whether the Boy Scouts is a business. If she finds that it is, then a jury will be called in to hear the rest of the case.
Although he has waited nearly a decade for his trial--the result of court delays, appeals and legal technicalities--Curran said he would still like to be a troop leader.
"I would start tomorrow," he said. "I learned how valuable the scouting experience can be for kids. It taught me self-respect. I have a lot to offer Scouts as a role model. I am an Eagle Scout, a journalist, a responsible adult."

LOS ANGELES (UPI)  September 21, 1990
BY: BAKER, CAROL

The Boy Scouts of America has the right to deny a former Eagle Scout the post of troop leader because of his homosexuality, the Scouts' lawyer argued at the trial of a nearly decade-old discrimination suit.
  In a suit filed in 1981, Timothy Curran, 28, a freelance news videotape editor now residing in Hollywood, is seeking an injunction allowing him to become a troop leader.
  The case, the first of its kind involving the Boy Scouts, could have serious implications for the organization. It would be a significant victory for the gay rights movement, and could change the way courts apply civil rights laws to private, nonprofit groups.
  In his opening statement Thursday, an attorney for the Boy Scouts said the organization can deny a troop leader position to whomever it pleases and maintained it is not subject to the anti-discrimination laws that govern businesses.
  Furthermore, Curran's moral values conflict with those implicit in Scouting, Boy Scouts attorney George A. Davidson said.
  "The evidence will show the purpose of Scouting is to transmit the moral values to young people," said Davidson.
  At his troop in Berkeley, Curran rose to the rank of Eagle Scout, which is attained by fewer than three Scouts in 100. Part of his Eagle work was organizing a troop for deaf kids in Oakland.
  When he turned 19, he decided to apply for the Scouter position as a way of staying involved with the Boy Scouts as an adult. He did not hide his homosexuality and his photograph appeared in a local newspaper when he took a boy to his high school prom, Davidson said.
  Curran's attorney Jon Davidson, said the Scouts' actions were an affront to their avowed mission of reaching out to the community.
  The Boy Scouts "is a large, highly structured public institution, which reaches out to the entire community which it serves," Jon Davidson said.
  Despite its outreach to all walks of the community, the Boy Scouts unfairly denied Curran a troop leader position because he was an avowed homosexual, said Davidson, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.
  Superior Court Judge Sally G. Disco will decide the case, which has been separated into two trial phases: the first deals with whether the Boy Scouts should be considered a business and as such be bound by California's anti-discrimination laws.
  If Curran prevails in the first phase of the trial, the second phase will address whether legal grounds exist to deny him a Scouter position as a homosexual.
  The case was dismissed in 1981 after Judge Robert I. Weil decided that Boy Scouts of America was a private organization that could legally exercise its membership policy excluding homosexuals and atheists.
  The case was reinstated by the 2nd District Court of Appeal in 1983.
  A final decision is not expected until 1991.

Gay's Suit Over Expulsion From Boy Scouts Begins
Trial: The Eagle Scout was not allowed to become an adult leader after taking a male to his high school prom.
Los Angeles Times - FRIDAY September 21, 1990
By: CAROL McGRAW; TIMES STAFF WRITER

Timothy Curran was 17 when the Boy Scouts awarded him its highest honor--the Eagle Scout badge.
On that spring night in 1980, family and friends sat in a Berkeley church proudly listening as he was held up as an exemplary Scout, possessing the character and leadership qualities coveted by Scouts everywhere.
But months later, Curran was summoned to a meeting at the Boy Scouts' Mount Diablo Council office in Walnut Creek. Executive Director Quentin Alexander told him that he could not continue in scouting because officials had learned he had taken a male date to his senior prom. Curran said Alexander told him that "homosexuality and Boy Scouting are not compatible."
On Thursday, nearly a decade after Curran filed suit to rejoin the Scouts as an adult leader, his trial began in Los Angeles Superior Court. A defense attorney asked early on if Curran could recall the Boy Scout oath.
The 28-year-old free-lance journalist smiled broadly from the witness stand, lifted his hand in a three-fingered salute and recited: "On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty, to God and my country . . . to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight."
The case, which is the first of its kind involving the 4.3-million-member Boy Scouts of America, could have profound implications for every troop in the US. If successful, it would not only be seen as a significant victory for the gay rights movement but could change the way courts apply civil rights laws to private, nonprofit organizations.
Curran's suit, which was filed in Los Angeles after he moved here to attend college, seeks a permanent injunction preventing the Mount Diablo Council from excluding him from membership and being a troop leader.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Curran, has argued that by denying him membership the Boy Scouts are violating the "equal public accommodations" section of the state Civil Rights Act, which prohibits arbitrary discrimination.
The Scouts countered that they are a private organization and, under California's Constitution, can choose their own leaders.
The Scouts' national leadership has taken the position that "as an organization that stresses the values of the family, we believe that homosexuals do not provide the proper role model for our youth membership,"
said Lee Sneath, national spokesman for the Irving, Tex.-based group. "As a private organization, they have a constitutional right to determine the leadership and membership qualifications."
A key issue in the Curran trial will be whether the Boy Scouts is a business as defined by the state Civil Rights Act.
During opening arguments Thursday before Judge Sally G. Disco, Curran's attorneys portrayed the Boy Scouts of America as a "massive, national enterprise" with 2,000 retail shops located throughout the country and total revenues of $52.3 million.
Jon Davidson, senior staff counsel for the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, noted that in one year, the Mount Diablo Council alone had revenues of $750,000.
New York City attorney George Davidson, who is defending the Mount Diablo Council, dismissed the argument, saying: "A duck has feathers and lays eggs but it doesn't necessarily mean it's a chicken."
Curran sat behind the counsel table where his three lawyers and three attorneys for the defense were seated. A few feet away sat Quentin Alexander, the Scout official who was waiting to testify about why he had denied his former Eagle Scout further membership in the organization.
Both men have said that scouting molded their character, an issue in the trial.
Alexander, 55, joined the Scouts 43 years ago in Daisy, Tenn., and never left the organization. He worked his way up through the leadership ranks to his present position as head of the 13,000-member Mount Diablo Council, which encompasses Contra Costa County.
One of the most important benefits of scouting, he said, is to teach youth "the difference between right and wrong."
To this day, he can recall the community service project he undertook at 12. "There was an older widow lady who I helped every day after school," he said. "I would go to her house and do chores, chop wood, whatever needed to be done. The lady's name was Mrs. Crowe."
Curran was 14 when he joined Troop 37 in Berkeley after a friend dragged him to a meeting. His first recollection, he testified Thursday, was of a fellow Scout showing him an aquarium filled with "a snake and a reptile." He was fascinated and stayed on to become a patrol leader, a member of the Order of the Arrow, a journalist for the Scout newspaper published each year at the National Jamboree camp-out, and an Eagle Scout with more than 20 merit badges.
Less than 3% of all Boy Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Curran impressed his supervisors by completing the rigorous program even though he was a relative latecomer to scouting. He finished the required work three days before his 18th birthday, the age at which Scouts "retire" and become adult volunteers.
As part of his Eagle Scout work, he helped organized a troop of deaf children in Oakland.
His problems with Scout officials began when he applied for a second time to write for the Scout newspaper at the National Jamboree. He and his parents met with Alexander.
"He told us that homosexuality and scouting are not compatible," Curran recalled. Apparently, Scout executives had been shown an Oakland newspaper article about gay youths, which featured Curran, who had taken a male date to his senior prom.
Curran's mother, Beryl Lange of San Francisco, recalled: "I sat there at the Scout meeting and couldn't believe they were talking about Tim, that he would lead anyone astray. He was the epitome of what they hoped for in all their Scouts and there they were telling him he was not worthy.
"Taking a male date to the prom had been the most difficult thing he had ever done in his life," she added, "and I was very proud of him for having the courage."
The Curran case mirrors the social struggles of both gays and the Boy Scouts in recent years.
A decade ago, many believed the gay rights movement was nearing the crest of acceptance, but that was before the AIDS epidemic struck down thousands. While AIDS spurred anti-gay sentiment, it also galvanized the gay community's fight for equality and political action.
Robert Bray, a spokesman for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said that the Curran case addresses an item that has been high on homosexual activists' political agenda--"to strike down the stereotype that gays and lesbians cannot be role models for children."
"We are frequently denied the right to be coaches, counselors, mentors, parents," Bray said. "It perpetuates the irrational and loathsome myth that gays recruit and molest children.
"Here is an outstanding Scout who is being denied the opportunity to lead other Scouts because of who he loves and who he is."
The 80-year-old Boy Scouts of America also has had its share of public relations problems. Since its inception, the group has been viewed by supporters as a movement that builds strong moral character, but in recent years critics have likened the group to "paramilitary goodie-goodies."
Membership dropped to 3.1 million in 1979 from a high of 4.8 million seven years earlier.
"We were a victim of the '60s philosophy, no question about it," said Richard Harrington, director of the 11-state Western Region, which includes all the Scout councils in California. "But there has been a dramatic change. We like to think that people are coming back to values we never left."
Officials have instituted major program changes. The group, which once taught how to stop runaway horses, now has classes in atomic and computer science. It conducts community programs that seek to eradicate drugs, child abuse, illiteracy, hunger and youth unemployment.
The Boy Scout Handbook, reissued this year, includes a 23-page insert on the dangers of drugs and child abuse and tells how to conduct environmentally sensitive camping trips. A multimillion-dollar advertising campaign is under way which emphasizes river rafting, mountain rappelling and other high-adventure activities. The effort has paid off. Membership is climbing again, with 4.3 million Scouts and 1.1 million adult volunteers now on the rolls.
The ACLU has not been the only group to take the Boy Scouts to court. In 1987, a single mother alleged that she was discriminated against because the Scouts had a policy that only men could serve as leaders. She had won several pretrial skirmishes and the case was set for trial when the Boy Scouts announced they had changed its policy and women could hold leadership posts.
At the time, Scout officials said that the rule was dropped because the court battles had become too expensive.
The organization also is defending itself against a religious freedom suit filed in federal court in Chicago earlier this year. In that case, an agnostic Scout allegedly was denied membership when he refused to take the Scout oath to "do my duty to God."
In the Curran case, Judge Disco will first have to rule on whether the Boy Scouts is a business. If she finds that it is, then a jury will be called in to hear the rest of the case.
Although he has waited nearly a decade for his trial--the result of court delays, appeals and legal technicalities--Curran said he would still like to be a troop leader.
"I would start tomorrow," he said. "I learned how valuable the scouting experience can be for kids. It taught me self-respect. I have a lot to offer Scouts as a role model. I am an Eagle Scout, a journalist, a responsible adult."

DATELINE: LOS ANGELES (UPI)  May 21, 1991
The Boy Scouts of America are entitled to prevent an openly homosexual man from becoming a Scout leader in order to "achieve its expressive goals," a judge ruled Tuesday.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the long-standing civil rights lawsuit on behalf of a former Eagle Scout forced to quit Scouting after he acknowledged his homosexuality, immediately condemned the ruling.
"I think many people are going to be surprised with the judge's conclusion that part of the mission of the Boy Scouts is to be anti-gay, " Jon Davidson, the ACLU attorney.
Timothy Curran, the 29-year-old former Scout who sued the Mt. Diablo Council of the Boy Scouts of America, said he was disappointed, but vowed to pursue the case.
"I will not give up my fight to have the same kind of opportunities as everyone else in this country and not be judged differently because of whom I love," he said.
In her ruling, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Sally Disco accepted the Boy Scout's position that a significant part of the goals of the organization is to express the view that homosexuality is immoral. She held that the organization has a right to "get across its preferred message in its preferred way."
In an earlier phase of the case, Disco ruled last November that the Boy Scouts are a business establishment under state law and as such, are generally  subject  to the state civil rights act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, national origin, physical disability and sexual orientation.
Her latest decision does not alter that result, but holds that the US.  Constitution prevents California from satisfying the "compelling interest in eradicating discrimination" because to do so, in her view, would interfere with the Boy Scouts' "ability to achieve its expressive goals."

Scouts Can Bar Gay Man as Leader, Judge Rules Civil rights: She says compelling youth organization to accept homosexuals would violate 1st Amendment.
Los Angeles Times  - WEDNESDAY May 22, 1991
By: LAURIE BECKLUND; TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Boy Scouts of America has a constitutional right to reject avowed homosexuals as Scoutmasters, a judge ruled Tuesday.
To compel the Scouts to accept openly gay troop leaders would violate the organization's 1st Amendment right to express its belief that homosexuality is immoral, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Sally G. Disco ruled.
Disco struck down the heart of a case filed 11 years ago by a former Bay Area Eagle Scout after he was refused acceptance as a leader on the grounds that he talked about his homosexuality in a newspaper article. The plaintiff, Timothy Curran, is now a Los Angeles videotape editor. Curran said late Tuesday that he was disappointed, but hopes to appeal.
"I will not give up my fight to have the same kind of opportunities as everyone else in this country and not be judged differently because of whom I love," Curran told United Press International.
The ruling, while applying only to the Mt. Diablo Council of the Scouts in the Bay Area, which turned down Curran, suggests the national organization has the right to exclude homosexuals from among its 1.1 million adult volunteers.
"We very much felt organizationally that as a private membership group, we have the right to establish and maintain qualifications for membership," said Blake Lewis, national spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America.
"Today's decision reinforces that belief."
The decision prompted outrage from gay rights groups.
"This is nothing but irrational," said Torie Osborne, executive director of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center. "It reinforces a false stereotype that gay men or lesbians can't be positive role models to kids. It sends a horrifying message to kids that it's OK to hate gays and lesbians. . . . The notion that it's OK for a major institution to discriminate is horrendous."
Jon Davidson, senior staff counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Curran, said he found the decision "wrong, both legally and morally."
"If the Boy Scouts claimed to espouse anti-Semitism, would that excuse exclusion of all Jewish Scoutmasters?" Davidson asked. "If they stated that they believed that blacks were inferior, would they have a 'right' to practice discrimination against African-Americans?"
Curran was an exemplary Scout, according to evidence presented at trial. He was refused membership after he reaffirmed his homosexual lifestyle to a Scout official. When he testified in Los Angeles at 28, he raised his hand and repeated from memory the Boy Scout pledge to keep himself "physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight."
"Morally straight," the Boy Scouts argued during the trial, means, among other things, that a person not be homosexual.
"Since 1910, when the Boy Scouts of America was incorporated . . . it was clearly understood that homosexuality was an immoral behavior and had no place in Scouting for youth or leaders," a Scout spokesman testified at trial.
Curran's attorneys were surprised by Disco's ruling because the judge had made a preliminary ruling in favor of their client. In a November ruling, Disco accepted Curran's contention that the Scouts should be considered a business under the Unruh Act, a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination.
"The Boy Scouts stand for what is best in American values," she wrote, quoting an argument by the plaintiff's attorneys. "To find that no legal principle requires that it not discriminate on the basis of race, religion,
ancestry, national origin, sex, physical disability, sexual orientation . . . would send a stark message about what the ideals of this country really mean."
However, in her ruling Tuesday, the judge determined that the group's 1st Amendment right to freedom of expression took precedence over state law.
"Inclusion of a homosexual Scoutmaster who has publicly acknowledged his or her homosexuality would either undermine the force of the Boy Scout view that homosexuality is immoral and inconsistent with the Scout oath and law, or would undermine the credibility of the Scoutmaster who attempts to communicate that view," Disco ruled.

Ruling on Scout Leadership Angers Gays; Appeal Vowed
Los Angeles Times - THURSDAY May 23, 1991
By: MARC LACEY; TIMES STAFF WRITER

Gay and lesbian community leaders reacted angrily Wednesday to a judge's ruling this week that allows the Boy Scouts of America to bar a man from becoming a Scout leader because he is gay, and the American Civil Liberties Union vowed an appeal.
"The judge needs an education," said Adele Starr, the president of the Los Angeles chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays . "She doesn't know what she did. There's nothing wrong with being gay. There is something wrong with discriminating against gays."
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Sally G. Disco ruled Tuesday that compelling the Scouts to accept an acknowledged homosexual as a troop leader would violate the organization's 1st Amendment right to express its belief that homosexuality is immoral.
The case was filed 11 years ago by Timothy Curran, a 29-year-old former Bay Area Eagle Scout who was told he could not head a troop in Northern California because he is gay.
The ACLU will appeal the decision because of the broad issues involved, said Jon Davidson, an ACLU senior staff counsel who represented Curran.
"It's a frightening decision for the children who are part of the Boy Scouts," he said. "I think it's crazy to accept that part of being a Boy Scout is being anti-gay."
Boy Scout officials praised the judge for allowing them to determine the qualifications of their leaders.
"We're based on traditional family values," said Blake Lewis, the national spokesman for the Texas-based organization. "We feel homosexuals do not supply a role model that is consistent with the family values we've been based on for 81 years . . . . Scouting has never sought to impose its values across all of society."
At the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center in Hollywood, Executive Director Torie Osborne called the ruling "homophobia in its purest form" and encouraged those who oppose discrimination to write to the judge, the Boy Scouts and the United Way, which provides funding to Scouting organizations nationwide.
Osborne also said that both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have many gay members and leaders. The decision essentially forces them to lie about who they are to stay in the organization and thus violate the Boy Scout oath to tell the truth, she said.
Lewis responded that there are no known gays among the 4.3 million Scout members or 1.2 million adult volunteers nationwide.
Silvia Rhue, the assistant director of counseling at the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, said the decision is based on the unfounded stereotype that children are somehow not safe around gay people.
"It is ridiculous to think that there is any problem because a gay man is in charge of children," she said.

Justices Say Scouts Can Bar Gays as Leaders
Rights: Appeals court rules that forcing organization to accept homosexuals as Scoutmasters would violate the 1st Amendment.
Los Angeles Times - THURSDAY March 31, 1994
By: BETTINA BOXALL; TIMES STAFF WRITER

Ruling on an issue closely watched by gay-rights advocates and their opponents, a California appeals court has concluded that the Boy Scouts of America has the right to bar gay men from becoming Scout leaders.
In a 2-1 decision issued Tuesday, the 2nd District of the Court of Appeal found that a state law prohibiting job discrimination against gay men and lesbians does not apply to the Boy Scouts and does not prevent the organization from excluding gays from the ranks of Scoutmasters.
Forcing the Scouts to accept openly gay leaders would violate the organization's First Amendment rights of association, the judges said.
The "Boy Scouts' exclusion of an adult leader who openly models or advocates homosexual behavior is no more or less rational than its exclusion of a leader who modeled or advocated any other type of behavior that it seeks to discourage," the judges wrote in a lengthy opinion.
"Unless scouting can determine its own standards of morality, it will be disabled as a teacher of moral views on any subject," continued the opinion, issued in Los Angeles.
The ruling came in a 13-year-old lawsuit filed by Timothy Curran, who at the time wanted to become an assistant Scoutmaster for a Northern California troop.
In an Orange County case decided just last month, a separate appeals panel ruled that the Boy Scouts could not exclude two boys who do not believe in God. In that opinion, the judges found that the nonprofit Boy Scouts were a business and thus bound by state anti-discrimination statutes, specifically the Unruh Civil Rights Act.
Attorney James G. Randall, who represented his 12-year-old twin sons, William and Michael, in the Orange County case decided by the 4th District Court of Appeal, said that Wednesday's contradictory ruling will force the California Supreme Court to sort out the issue.
"It's clear that the Boy Scouts are a business," Randall said.
"Quite frankly I am disgusted" with Wednesday's ruling, he added. "The court hasn't the foggiest idea of what's going on."
Officials with the Orange County Council of Scouts could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Curran had been a Boy Scout for several years, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout, before he took a male date to his senior prom and was quoted in the local news media as proud to be gay. A few months later he expressed interest in becoming an assistant Scoutmaster but was rejected because he is gay.
Curran's suit is one of several cases around the country challenging the Scouts' exclusion of gay Scout masters. The lawsuits contend that the Boy Scouts are unconstitutionally discriminating against gays, while Boy Scouts officials say they are a private group and have the right to exclude homosexuals, whom they consider at odds with the organization's basic moral tenets.
Curran's attorney, Jon Davidson of the American Civil Liberties Union, called the opinion "extremely distressing." He said the ACLU would seek a rehearing before the appeals court, and if necessary, take the case to the state Supreme Court. "The majority opinion," Davidson said, "rules that the Boy Scouts and numerous other charitable organizations are exempt from California's anti-discrimination laws and are free to exclude whomever they want, on any basis. This overturns decades of state law to the contrary. I cannot believe that the court would have reached this result if Tim had been excluded by the Boy Scouts because of his race or religious beliefs."
In the Curran opinion, the judges concluded that "to extend the Unruh Act to scouting councils would transform numerous charitable organizations that are fundamentally different from business establishments and commercial or business clubs, such as the Rotary and Jaycees.
"Many charitable organizations," the opinion stated, "direct their services to a distinct religious, cultural, gender, ethnic or age group in a way that would be unacceptable in a business, but is neither offensive nor improper in the case of a charity seeking to accomplish its particular mission."
In a similar court case now on trial in San Diego, El Cajon police officer Chuck Merino has sued the Boy Scouts over his abrupt ouster in 1992 as a Scout leader, after the Scouts learned of his homosexuality.
As in the Curran case, Boy Scouts attorneys have argued that the organization is a private club, not a business, and thus not subject to the Unruh law. Merino is also suing under San Diego's Human Dignity Ordinance, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Superior Court Judge Anthony Joseph, hearing the case without a jury, has said he may make a decision when testimony ends today or Friday. He has also predicted that his ruling will be appealed regardless of which side he favors.

COURT RULES SCOUTS MAY EXCLUDE GAY TROOP LEADERS
Seattle Times (SE) - Thursday March 31, 1994
By: BETTINA BOXALL LOS ANGELES TIMES

LOS ANGELES - Ruling on an issue closely watched by gay-rights advocates and their opponents, a California appeals court has concluded that the Boy Scouts of America has the right to bar gay men from becoming scout leaders.
In a 2-1 decision issued Tuesday, the Second Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal found that a state law prohibiting job discrimination against gay men and lesbians does not apply to the Boy Scouts and does not prevent the organization from excluding gays from the ranks of scoutmasters.
Forcing the scouts to accept openly gay leaders would violate the organization's First Amendment rights of association, the judges said.
 The "Boy Scouts' exclusion of an adult leader who openly models or advocates homosexual behavior is no more or less rational than its exclusion of a leader who modeled or advocated any other type of behavior that it seeks to discourage," the judges wrote in a lengthy opinion.
"Unless scouting can determine its own standards of morality, it will be disabled as a teacher of moral views on any subject," continued the opinion, issued in Los Angeles.
The ruling came in a 13-year-old lawsuit filed by Timothy Curran, who at the time wanted to become an assistant scoutmaster for a northern California troop.
Curran had been a Boy Scout for several years, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout, before he took a male date to his senior prom and was quoted in the local news media as proud to be gay. A few months later he expressed interest in becoming an assistant scoutmaster but was rejected because he is gay.
Curran's suit is one of several cases around the country challenging the Scouts' exclusion of gay scoutmasters. The lawsuits contend that the Boy Scouts are unconstitutionally discriminating against gays, while Boy Scouts officials say they are a private group and have the right to exclude homosexuals, whom they consider at odds with the organization's basic moral tenets.
Curran's attorney, Jon Davidson of the American Civil Liberties Union, called the opinion "extremely distressing." He said the ACLU would seek a rehearing before the appeals court, and if necessary, take the case to the California Supreme Court.
"The majority opinion," Davidson said, "rules that the Boy Scouts and numerous other charitable organizations are exempt from California's anti-discrimination laws and are free to exclude whomever they want, on any basis. This overturns decades of state law to the contrary. I cannot believe that the court would have reached this result if Tim had been excluded by the Boy Scouts because of his race or religious beliefs."
Davidson pointed out that just last month a state appeals panel in a different district ruled that the Boy Scouts could not exclude two boys who do not believe in God. In that opinion, issued in an Orange County case, the judges found that the nonprofit Boy Scouts were a business and thus bound by state anti-discrimination statutes, specifically the Unruh Civil Rights Act.

Gay Leaders Condemn Ruling in Boy Scouts Case
Courts: L.A. Unified board member says he will try to end the organization's access to students during the school day.
Los Angeles Times - FRIDAY April 1, 1994
By: BETTINA BOXALL; TONY PERRY; TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Reacting angrily to a state court decision, Los Angeles school board member and former Eagle Scout Jeff Horton said Thursday that he will press the school district to restrict the Boy Scouts' access to students during the school day.
"I am outraged," Horton said of a state Court of Appeal decision that upholds the Boy Scouts' right to exclude gay men from the ranks of Scoutmasters. "It is nothing short of discrimination and it will harm young people," declared Horton, who is gay.
Although state law requires schools to let groups such as the Boy Scouts use facilities after school, Horton said the district can take steps to bar the organization during school hours. He said it may simply be a matter of enforcing the Los Angeles Unified School District's existing policy forbidding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Horton was of one of several gay leaders who bitterly condemned the 66-page court opinion, which gave a sweeping victory to the Boy Scouts of America.
"The message that is inherent in this decision is that being different is not allowed," said Teresa DeCrescenzo, executive director of Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services in Los Angeles. "And any child who might discover that he is different has been put on notice and warned: Stay hidden, keep quiet, lie, be afraid."
Attorneys said the 2nd Appellate District opinion, issued Tuesday in Los Angeles, was the highest ruling made so far on the volatile issue of whether openly gay men should be allowed to become Scout leaders. Several lawsuits have been filed challenging the Scouts' policy of barring gays--a policy Boy Scout officials say they have every right to set.
"We are pleased, obviously," Scouts spokesman Richard Walker said from the organization's national headquarters in Irving, Tex. "We are a private organization and we have the right to teach youth the traditional values we have taught them since 1910. We have maintained that all along.
"Parents overwhelmingly tell us this is not a role model they want presented as even an alternative lifestyle to their children," Walker continued.
In a 2-1 decision, the appeals panel agreed with the Scouts' position that the organization is not a business and is therefore not bound by the state Unruh Civil Rights Act forbidding discrimination against gay men and lesbians.
"I think it's important that the court has recognized that the Unruh Act does not cover all organized human activity but is confined to the business or public accommodations area," said the Scouts' attorney, George Davidson. He added that the opinion had put the Scouts on strong legal footing to fight the expected appeal in the case.
The 13-year-old lawsuit was filed by Timothy Curran, who vowed Thursday to pursue the case with attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union.
"I am still a believer in the Scouting program," said Curran, a former Bay Area Eagle Scout who sued after the organization refused to let him become an assistant Scoutmaster for a Berkeley troop. "I now feel more strongly than ever that it's an excellent program run by people who haven't got a clue about what Scouting means or the American tradition of judging people individually instead of by their membership in a class."
Now a 32-year-old, free-lance television producer in Washington, Curran said his troop had no objection to having a gay leader. "The Scoutmaster of my troop and the parents in my troop and my fellow Scouts wanted me to stay. They were informed by the national council they had no choice in the matter."
In a similar case now being tried in San Diego, the Curran decision prompted the judge to recess the trial for a week to study the opinion.
That case--which stems from the Scouts' expulsion of El Cajon police Officer Chuck Merino--thrust San Diego into the middle of the controversy over gay Scout leaders. A political firestorm erupted after Merino was summarily fired as a Scout leader in 1992 by Scouting officials who had learned he is homosexual.
In protest, the El Cajon Police Department and the San Diego Police Department severed ties with the Boy Scouts and the San Diego school board moved to restrict the Boy Scouts from using school grounds during school hours.
The county Sheriff's Department, on the other hand, sided with the Scouts and hundreds of people--including a county supervisor, a congressman and the under sheriff--attended hastily arranged "Tribute to Scouting" rallies to voice support for the Scouts' stand against homosexuals.

State Top Court Says Boy Scouts Can Ban Gays
Harriet Chiang, Chronicle Legal Affairs Writer
Tuesday, March 24, 1998
San Francisco Chronicle
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/1998/03/24/MN6939.DTL

The state Supreme Court handed a major victory to the Boy Scouts of America yesterday, ruling that the venerable organization can exclude gays and those who refuse to pledge allegiance to God.
In its widely awaited ruling, the high court found that the organization is not a business and therefore not subject to the state's anti-discrimination law.
The Boy Scouts is a ``charitable organization,'' wrote Chief Justice Ronald George in the court's decision. It is ``an expressive social organization whose primary function is the inculcation of values in its youth members.''
The unanimous decision came in two separate cases challenging the Boy Scout's membership policies.
A former Eagle Scout sued in 1981 after he was denied a post as a scoutmaster for a Berkeley troop because he is gay. Nine-year-old twin brothers in Orange County went to court in 1991, arguing that they had a right to refuse to pledge allegiance to God as part of the Boy Scout oath.
The ruling is expected to intensify continuing the nationwide debate about the membership policies of the Boy Scouts. Nearly a dozen lawsuits are now pending across the country, accusing the organization of discriminatory practices.
Yesterday's high court ruling is based on California's anti-discrimination law, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits business establishments from discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation.
The decision comes three weeks after a New Jersey state appeals court ruled that the Boy Scouts could not ban gays under that state's anti-discrimination law. There are no similar federal anti-discrimination laws that apply to the organization.
Boy Scouts attorney George Davidson said yesterday's ruling will bolster the organization's defense in other cases in other states.
``I think it's still true that a majority of Americans describe themselves as members of religious groups which hold that homosexuality is immoral,'' Davidson said. ``The Boy Scouts is committed to bringing the values of the oath of law to youth the best way they know how.''
An American institution for nearly 90 years, the Boy Scouts is the nation's largest youth organization with 5.8 million members, including 438,580 in California.
Timothy Curran, the former Berkeley Eagle Scout who sued the organization, said yesterday's decision marked ``a very sad day for the Boy Scouts.'' He placed the blame on the national leaders he said have interfered with the local troops.
``It's really a shame that this terrific, terrific program has been hijacked by the religious right,'' said Curran, now a 36-year-old film producer in Miami.
Curran's attorney, Jon Davidson (no relation to George Davidson), said that the court carved out a ``Boy Scouts exception'' to the state's anti-discrimination law.
``If you want to be involved in scouting in California you have to stay in the closet,'' said Davidson, a Los Angeles attorney with the LAMBDA Legal Defense and Education Fund, a gay rights advocacy group.
The lawyer for the twin brothers, Michael and William Randall, who are now 16-year-old high school sophomores, said the boys were distraught after learning of the decision.
``They were crying. They were just devastated,'' said Taylor Flynn, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union in Los Angeles.
Flynn said she fears that troops will now feel free to exclude members based on race or religious convictions, noting that in the 1960s some Scout troops in the South were racially segregated.
But the high court went out of its way to stress that it was not making a moral or ethical judgment on the Scouts' policies.
``We emphasize at the outset that the resolution of this matter does not turn on our personal views of the wisdom or morality of the actions or policies that are challenged in this case,'' George said.
Curran joined the Boy Scouts in 1975 when he was 14. In 1979, he became an Eagle Scout, the highest rank a Boy Scout can reach. The next year, Curran applied for the scoutmaster post of the Berkeley troop, but he was rejected after Scout leaders saw an article in the Oakland Tribune on gay youth that featured Curran, who had taken a male date to the senior prom.
He sued the next year. In 1991, a Los Angeles trial judge agreed that the Scouts are a business but ruled that the organization could reject Curran because it is protected by a constitutional right of association.
In 1994, a state appeals court in Los Angeles upheld the trial judge's ruling, but went even further, finding that the Scouts is not a business establishment and can legally reject gays as Scout leaders.
Meanwhile, the 9-year-old Randall twins, who joined the Scouts when they were seven, filed suit in 1991 after they were barred from an Orange County Cub Scout den for refusing to pledge the Boy Scout oath to God.
A trial judge ruled that the Scouts could not exclude the boys because it qualified as a business establishment. A state appeals court upheld that ruling.
The boys, who deny that they are atheists, made Eagle Scout earlier this month.
In yesterday's opinion, the high court distinguished their rulings from previous decisions barring the Boys Club in Santa Cruz from excluding girls and country clubs from excluding women members.
The court said that the Boys' Club was open to the public because its recreational doors are open to all boys in Santa Cruz.
George said that the Peninsula Country Club qualified as business because it regularly permitted nonmembers to rent its golf courses, tennis courts, and dining and bar facilities.
The justices still have two other cases pending over the Scouts' policy, one brought by a Rocklin girl trying to get in the Boy Scouts and another by a San Diego man seeking to be a Scout leader.

California High Court Rules Boy Scouts Can Exclude Gays
NY Times
March 24, 1998
By TODD S. PURDUM

LOS ANGELES -- The California Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the Boy Scouts of America can exclude gay people, agnostics and atheists from its ranks because it is a private membership group not covered by the state's civil rights law.
In a pair of unanimous decisions, the court held that under California's 1959 state civil rights law, the Scouts are not a business establishment and so are free, like any private club, to set membership policies as they see fit.
Civil rights and gay rights groups expressed disappointment at the ruling, which cannot be appealed, because it did not turn on any claim of federal constitutional law. But they pointed to other pending challenges to the membership policies of the Scouts, including a ruling by a divided New Jersey state appeals court earlier this month that the Scouts are a public accommodation and cannot exclude members because of sexual orientation.
"This is the end of the line for this decision, but not for this question nationally," said Jon Davidson, supervising lawyer for the Western regional office of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a gay rights group.
Challenges to the Scouts' ban against gay participants are pending under other local anti-discrimination statutes in Chicago and the District of Columbia, and one may well eventually wind up in the US. Supreme Court.
In Chicago, for example, the city's Human Relations Commission recently ruled that the Scouts' policy against admitting gay members violates the city's anti-discrimination ordinance. There is no federal anti-discrimination law that bars discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation.
While the plaintiffs in Monday's case sued only under the California law, the Boy Scouts had asserted claims of a constitutional right of free association, and would have been prepared to appeal to the US. Supreme Court on those grounds if they had lost, spokesmen for both sides said. In the New Jersey case, the Boy Scouts are appealing this month's loss at the appeals court to the state's Supreme Court, and if they lose there would doubtless continue the challenge to the US. Supreme Court, which could resolve the issue nationally.
"We're very pleased, obviously," a national spokesman for the Scouts , Gregg Shields, said of the California ruling. "For 88 years, the Boy Scouts of America has brought the moral values of the Scout oath and law to American boys, helping them to achieve the objectives of scouting. Since its inception in 1910, the Boy Scouts has been a voluntary association, and those who meet the standard of membership are welcome."
In the past, the California Supreme Court has ruled that such organizations as Boys Clubs and a private country club were business establishments because their buildings and programs were open to the public. But the justices ruled on Monday that the Scouts are a private, selective organization, whose camps, hikes, training and programs are only available to members, although Scouts sell some goods and publications to the public.
Chief Justice Ronald George, in the court's lead opinion, said that "Scouts meet regularly in small groups (often in private homes) that are intended to foster close friendship, trust and loyalty," and he added: "The Boy Scouts is an expressive social organization whose primary function is the inculcation of values in its youth members."
Two other justices, Stanley Mosk and Janice Rogers Brown, said in separate opinions that they would support the court going even further and overruling its previous decisions in the golf club and Boys Club cases by narrowing its definition of business establishments.
The pair of rulings, in separate cases that were argued together, involved two distinct issues. In one, Timothy Curran, now a documentary filmmaker who lives in in Miami, challenged his rejection as a teen-age assistant Scoutmaster by a Contra Costa County Scout organization in 1981, after it learned that he was gay. The other case involved 9-year-old twin brothers, Michael and William Randall, now 16, who were barred by an Orange County Cub Scout den in 1990, after they refused to declare a belief in God.
"I just hoped that the Boy Scouts had the honesty and integrity that my sons have shown," said James Randall, their father and their lawyer, who choked back tears at a press conference reacting to the decision here on Monday.
Randall said he feared that the decision could have broader implications and allow "the largest youth organization in the world to discriminate based on race and sexual orientation."
In fact, the rulings held that while the provisions of the California civil rights act do not extend to the Scouts' membership policies, the organization was not "free to exclude boys from membership on the basis of race, or on other constitutionally suspect grounds, with impunity," because other laws, including federal tax laws granting tax-exempt status, would apply.
At various times in the past, Scout groups have barred members of some races or have segregated troops, though the organization no longer does that. By contrast, the Boy Scouts contend that being gay is immoral, not in keeping with the Scout oath's pledge to be "morally straight," and that gay men would not be good role models. They also contend that the Scout oath's pledge of "duty to God," is central to the organization's mission.
The Randall twins were dismissed for their refusal to use the word "God" in the oath, and their father said they were agnostics, who were still working out their religious beliefs. They had been allowed to continue in the organization after lower court rulings in their favor, and recently applied to earn their ranking as Eagle Scouts, the organization's highest honor, but Shields, the Scouts spokesman, said that they were no longer Scouts, unless they agreed to swear the standard oath.
"It is sad to see that the Scout law that is so valued can be tarnished by a few people," said Michael Randall, who with his brother broke into tears at the press conference on Monday. "I find it difficult to believe that in this country we still have discrimination.
"Once a Scout, always a Scout," he said. "There are no former Scouts."

Foes of Boy Scout bias ruling cry "shame'
Carol Ness, OF THE EXAMINER STAFF
Tuesday, March 24, 1998
2000 San Francisco Examiner
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/examiner/archive/1998/03/24/NEWS1655.dtl

Former Contra Costa County Eagle Scout Tim Curran has spent almost 18 years - his entire adult life - fighting to make the Boy Scouts accept gays like him, only to lose in California's highest court.
"I think it's sad scouting should win the right to discriminate," Curran, now 36 and a Miami film producer, said Monday after the California Supreme Court ruled against him. "Bully for them. It's a shame, and I mean that in the literal sense."
The court ruled unanimously in twin cases that the Boy Scouts of America - unlike country clubs and a boys club - does not fall under the Unruh Civil Rights Act, California's main law covering discrimination by organizations.
The court ruled against Curran and, in a separate case, against Orange County twins who were refused promotion through Scout ranks because they weren't sure they believed in God.
In both rulings, Chief Justice Ronald George said Boy Scouts of America isn't a business but a private club whose primary function is "the inculcation of values" in its young members. Among those values are a belief in God and a rejection of homosexuality as immoral.
Forcing the Scouts to stop excluding gays and atheists as members or leaders would violate the group's constitutional "right of intimate and expressive association," George wrote.
Boy Scout spokesman Greg Shields welcomed the ruling, invoking the organization's 88-year history of bringing "the moral values of the Scout oath and law to American boys."
But Curran and others who want scoring's ranks opened not only to gays and atheists but also to girls said they will fight on and ultimately prevail.
Scott Cozza of Petaluma, whose 12-year-old son, Steven, a Life Scout, has taken up the gay scouting cause, said the rulings won't stop their effort.
"We're not addressing the legality; we're addressing the morality. That's why we still feel confident," said Scott Cozza.
Curran predicted, "The forces of history are on my side. It's only a matter of time before, sooner or later, they will have the same policy as the Girl Scouts - that they don't care about sexual orientation one way or another.
"It doesn't matter what happened in court today. When that policy finally falls, and it will, I will have won."
Advocates of gay scouting pointed to a contrasting ruling from an appellate court in New Jersey. That March 2 ruling in the case of James Dale, who is gay, said the Boy Scouts do come under that state's equivalent to the Unruh Act and therefore cannot discriminate. Other cases are moving up through the courts in Chicago, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
George Davidson, the New York attorney who has defended the Boy Scouts' various exclusions for 20 years, said, "That decision is on appeal to the Supreme Court of New Jersey. I'm confident they will see it the same way the California Supreme Court did."
Of the 10 states with discrimination laws governing public accommodations, he said, California's Unruh Act had been given the broadest legal interpretation, yet it still was found not to cover the Scouts.
The state high court has held that both the Peninsula Golf & Country Club of Hillsborough and the Boys Club of Santa Cruz had to admit females as members because they fell within Unruh's reach. The court didn't reverse those decisions with Monday's ruling.
Davidson successfully argued that the Boy Scouts are different because they are not a public place. Instead, they meet in small groups designed to foster friendship, trust and loyalty.
Attorney Jon Davidson, who has handled the Curran case for 10 years for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, said Monday's rulings are quite narrow - applying only in California and likely only to the Boy Scouts.
The ruling is so specific, he said, that "it's hard for me to see what other organizations would be allowed to discriminate besides the Boy Scouts."
Since the federal courts have already ruled that federal civil rights law doesn't cover the Boy Scouts, Monday's rulings leave the organization free to discriminate against anyone it wants in California, Davidson said.
Chief Justice George's ruling said it was up to the Legislature, not the courts, to extend the Unruh nondiscrimination act to cover organizations like the Boy Scouts. George also said, without elaboration, that other laws might preclude the scouts from discriminating racially.
Laws and courts aside, however, Scott Cozza said ultimately it's grass-roots efforts like his son's Scouting for All that will mean the most.
Steven Cozza has collected 6,000 signatures so far on a petition being circulated nationally via the Internet to pressure the Boy Scouts of America to change its mind on gays.
The 12-year-old, who is straight, has been invited to speak in churches and to appear at hearings like next month's in Berkeley over the Sea Scouts' exclusion of gays.
"This has to change from the top," said Scott Cozza, a San Francisco General Hospital social worker. "People aren't going to stand for it. It's really a social injustice issue."

No merit badge here
Editorial - MiamiHerald
March 26, 1998

he California Supreme Court this week decided a case brought 18 years ago by Timothy Curran, now a South Florida resident. He was a 19-year-old Eagle Scout, openly gay, in California in 1980. His troop leaders accepted this but not the Boy Scouts' national leaders. When a newspaper article featured the gay teen, the national office told Mr. Curran that after four accomplished years in Scouting, he was not welcome.
Mr. Curran sued under California's civil-rights laws. On Monday the court ruled against him. The Boy Scouts are a private group, it said. Members can associate with whom they please.
Thus the Boy Scouts can exclude those who don't reflect their values. In another California case, two brothers who are agnostics were ejected for refusing to repeat the Scout oath's belief in God. They challenged the Scouts' policy. The court again sided with the Scouts.
The right of free association is precious. Government should not dictate private associations. But the Boy Scouts' exclusionary policies are unsettling and disappointing. The organization has a good record of teaching boys about loyalty, honor, and other virtues that help them in life. Sometimes Scouts meet in public buildings and receive public services or even money for Scouting events. That puts their membership policies to a different test, as other recent rulings show.
A New Jersey appellate court held that the Boy Scouts are "a public accommodation" and can't exclude based on sexual orientation. Chicago's Human Relations Commission found that the Scouts' policy against gay members violated an anti-discrimination ordinance. Appeals are pending. Ultimately, the US. Supreme Court likely will have to decide the conflict.
The Constitution guarantees the freedom of religion as well as association, including the right not to believe. Constitutional rights have built the foundation for America's diversity, an every-dynamic source of the nation's vigor. Excluding parts of the populace hinders the Boy Scouts more than those who are rejected. To exclude some because the don't fit the Scouts' mold is to fail to prepare youth for life in real America.

 

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